Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy (LYA) located in Longmeadow, MA, opened its doors on August 27, 2015 for the 2015-16 school year and was proud to welcome its student body for its 70th year of offering excellence in Judaic and secular education to families of the greater Springfield area.
Under the leadership of its educational administrative team of Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, Principal and Co-Education Directors, Miss Judi Epstein and Mrs. Stephanie Zolotor, LYA has increased its enrollment and looks forward to continuing to build vibrancy in the community.
LYA highlights several aspects of the education process offered for this year.
Early Childhood Education
LYA’s youngest students are exposed to the world around them through experiential learning with an emphasis on physical, cognitive, and emotional growth. Movement and exercise become an integral part of a child’s day. Mrs. Lilia Luzhanskiy, Early Childhood Director, has developed a rhythmic Hebrew program which incorporates Hebrew language and exercise into an exciting repertoire of dance and movement.
Using a camping theme, this year’s LYA Early Childhood students enjoy experiential learning that encompasses all aspects of their day. Their classroom is set up as a campsite complete with tents and areas of camping discovery. This theme will extend into the Judaic curriculum with monthly Rosh Chodesh programs that include cooking, drama and crafts based on the calendar year.
LYA is beginning a new literacy program in the early childhood program targeting pre-kindergarten students. This Junior Kindergarten program will focus on pre-reading skills including phonemic awareness, basic math concepts including 1-1 correspondence, and cognitive development. This child friendly dynamic program will appeal to all learning styles as it fosters growth in information processing, memory, problem solving, language acquisition and classification/sorting.
Character building is an integral component of the education at LYA. Each month, students focus on a specific character trait and use the 7 Habits to improve their character. Students discuss the character traits and decide how the character traits will be used in the classroom, at recess, at lunch, and in the hallways.
The LYA Leader in Me Lighthouse team unveiled WHAM; the theme for the 2015-16 school year’s character trait program. WHAM is an acronym for Words, Honor, Action, and Mind.
Words and Honor, dibor, will include ways to incorporate positive speech into our entire day. Action, ma’aseh, will focus on taking charge of our actions during the day and be aware of the choices we make, as well as the neatness of our school environment. Mind, machshava, will include strategies for acting upon using our thoughts to bring about academic success and personal improvement.
LYA Chumash curriculum linked to Zekelman Standards
LYA Chumash (Torah) teachers are trained in the Zekelman Standards for Judaic Studies following a training summer workshop facilitated by Rabbi Yossi Rosenblum, the director of Zekelman Standards Project and will be implementing these standards into the Judaic studies curriculum this year.
The Zekelman Standards are a road map for teaching Chumash in grades 1-8, addressing all the areas necessary for mastery of Torah study, anticipating challenges that students may encounter along the way, and helping teachers chart an individualized path for each of their students to the goal of independent learning.
The Zekelman Standards for Judaic Studies incorporate Understanding by Design (UBD) methodology, including the essential understandings, knowledge and skills which constitute grade-appropriate mastery for each subject, include all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which are critical to learning in every subject and align with the Common Core Standards, with more than 50% of the Zekelman standards addressing critical thinking and cognitive skills.
Building Strong Readers
Last year, LYA said a fond farewell to Mrs. Joanne Meyer, the librarian for ten years who retired at the end of the school year. Under Mrs. Meyer, LYA’s library doubled in size offering a wide array of books and series for the students. Miss Rosaleen Lewis, LYA’s middle school language arts and history teacher for the past four years, seamlessly entered the role of librarian for the school.
Miss Lewis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Education with a Concentration in Secondary Ed. from Springfield College and is working on a Maters in Library and Information Science, concentration in School Library from Simmons College, Boston. In addition to her knowledge as a classroom teacher, Miss Lewis, brings much life experience to the role as librarian. She is fluent in three languages and has traveled extensively through Europe.
The LYA library is the gateway that develops students’ choice in literature genres and through providing quality literature it assists the students to become stronger writers. Miss Lewis is excited to be an integral part of building a love of reading, as well as providing resources to the staff. She is looking forward to expanding her role at LYA to allow her to work with students at the elementary level.
LYA invites you to visit and see the school. Check us out at www.LYA.org or visit us on facebook at www.facebook.com/LubavitcherYeshivaAcademy. Call 413-567-8665 to set up a tour. LYA is located in Longmeadow, MA on the CT border. The community is a two and a half hour ride from New York and a one and a half ride from Boston.